Got to keep that momentum going!
I'm hosting the second Vegan Nigerian Pop-Up Restaurant experience and if you're in London then I'd love to see you there! Come through for some great food, great music, and great company :)
*20 spaces available and advanced booking required*
When: Wednesday 11th May 2016
Where: La Suite West Hotel, 41-51 Inverness Terrace, Bayswater, London, W2 3JN
Wednesday, 20 April 2016
I can't resist a beautiful cookbook, and 'The New Vegan' by writer and blogger Aine Carlin certainly ticks all the boxes on the aesthetics front. Beyond gorgeous photo spreads and layouts, however, this is a cookbook with a difference, bursting with tips and advice on adopting a vegan lifestyle! Along with over 90 healthy and versatile recipes, you can also expect sections on the often overlooked subjects of vegan beauty and vegan clothing (yes, veganism goes beyond the food you eat!)
As the name suggests, this is a cookbook geared towards a contemporary audience; those who are new to the vegan game, but also, I imagine, those veteran vegans who desire a fresh take on veganism altogether. With so much information out there on the web, it can be confusing and daunting sifting through what's reliable and what's not. 'The New Vegan' is a refreshing resource that cuts to the chase and provides the reader with concise and down-to-earth knowledge on all things vegan.
From juices to overnight oats to fruity granola, the breakfast meals are simply mouthwatering. I mean, coconut, mango and spinach smoothie bowl (see image) - can you say perfection? As someone who has never made a smoothie bowl before, this particular recipe inspires me to go all out experimenting with this form. It's certainly a simple way to jazz up your breakfast routine.
Skipping to the Special Meals section, I was surprised to find a jollof rice recipe. Yes, our beloved jollof rice (image below). Knowing how sensitive my fellow West Africans are when it comes to this dish (did you follow Jamie Oliver's #jollofgate scandal back in 2014? lol), I approved of the author's decision to offer a disclaimer: "Of course, this is very much my own (anglicised) spin on things so if you're looking for an authentic version of what I now realise to be a staple national dish for much of West Africa, this probably isn't it."
To be honest, the recipe looks just as delicious as it's supposed to look, so I am excited to give this version a try. I imagine that the addition of paprika will give it a lovely, smoky flavour, and I am here for that!
On the sweet side of things, I was drawn to the strawberry galette, which is so unbelievably quick and easy to prepare, but would make a wonderful centre piece at any dinner party. Special shout out to the banoffee pie recipe too which is raw, decadent and one of my personal favourite vegan desserts.
Finally, the cruelty-free beauty recipes are good enough to eat. Think body scrubs made with banana, body moisturisers made with whipped coconut oil, and exfoliator made with avocado & oatmeal. Like I said, good enough to eat!
If you're an avid cookbook collector like myself, the 'The New Vegan' is a worthy addition to your shelf, and would also make a useful and stylish gift to someone you know who's starting out or thinking of starting out on this lifestyle. It is accessible and appealing, showing just how easy it is to be vegan in this day and age.
To find out more about the author, you can visit her site at: www.peasoupeats.com and follow her on twitter @ainecarlin
The cookbook is available on Amazon and more info can be found on the publisher's website: www.kylebooks.com.
Note: This review has been organised by the VEGAN Lifestyle ASSOCIATION. It has not been paid for and the copy of the book I received was sent free of charge. This is my genuine and unbiased review of the book.
Saturday, 16 April 2016
Make the most of spring by trying out some of these vegan recipes by freelance writer Sara Upton.
Light, easy to make and bursting with wholesome plant foods...what's not to love?
Now that spring is upon us, it’s time to switch up our meal plans and start eating some different foods. This means putting away all of the ingredients we've been using over the winter—stashing them in the closet just like we do our thickest winter sweaters—and starting to use some of the plant-based ingredients that are freshest this time of year.
With that thought in mind, here are a few spring-inspired vegan recipes for side dishes that will have your taste buds going “Mmm…”.
A great vegetable to work into your spring meal plan is fava beans, and if you follow this recipe, you’ll have a ready-to-eat side salad in just a few minutes. The ingredients are:
To make this simple spring salad, just mix all of the vegetables together in one bowl and all of the spices, juices, syrups, and oils together in another bowl. Once they’re mixed well, combine them and place in the fridge for an hour to get the salad nice and cold.
Sweet potatoes are great this time of year as well, and sweet potato soup helps bridge the gap between winter and summer by providing a meal that is warm and filling, yet light. Here’s what you need to make it:
Bake the sweet potato until tender (approximately 40 minutes at 400 degrees), remove the skin, and place it in a blender. Add the milk, broth, and salt and blend until smooth. When you serve it, you can even add chopped tomatoes, chives, and green onions on top!
All of these are great ways to celebrate some of spring’s most treasured treats. However, if you don’t have time to put together side dishes like these, you can always juice your favourite springtime veggies, enabling you to enjoy all of their nutrients and goodness without having to prepare a full meal.
No matter which spring options you like best, the key is to find the ones that satisfy your taste buds most. That way, you'll get the most from the ingredients that are freshest this time of year. But also, don’t be afraid to try new ones. Who knows? You may just find one that you love, even though you didn't realise it!
Friday, 8 April 2016
The last few weeks have been a roller-coaster, for want of a better metaphor. I first decided that I wanted to go ahead with this pop-up restaurant over a month ago, giving me the time and breathing space to slowly work up to it. No pressure.
Once the event went live, it was jaw-dropping to witness the tickets sell out so fast. At the very least, I knew that I could count on my family and close friends to be there, but I imagined that I'd have to do a great deal of advertising to get the word out and convince other people to come along. The power of social media, sharing and word-of-mouth came into play and thankfully silenced that misconception.
So, in the long lead up to the event, there were days when I was in full planning mode - trying to work out the logistics and practicalities, down to the smallest detail. How to transport ingredients to the venue? What drinks to serve with the meals? How much prep time would be required? etc. On other days, I was able to go about my business without a thought to the event, often leading me to wonder whether I was doing enough to prepare. Time would tell...
Life has a funny way of playing out and it so happened that the week just before the pop-up was to take place was week I had planned (months in advance) to attend Spring Harvest (a Christian holiday/retreat in Somerset) with a friend. Cue a week of complete relaxation and much-needed peace of mind. And when it was over, time seemed to hurtle mercilessly forward to Wednesday. Now or never...
I'm as calm as calm gets, believe me, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't experience little pangs of nervous energy throughout the day. With the help of family and friends, however, who gave their time so generously and selflessly, I was able to make it through the day in one piece. There was so much love and support on their part - and even on the part of the guests I met for the very first time - that I am convinced that that was the key to the event being as successful as it was. Thank God for wonderful people :)
The video I've put together (special thanks to my brother for capturing most of the footage while I was plating behind the scenes) should give you a good idea of the overall night - the atmosphere, the food, the good vibes... No need for me to break it down excessively ;)
Once again, a massive thank you to everyone who played a part in bringing this event to life. You are all appreciated. I'm also going to go ahead and give myself a good pat on the back for following through with this, because why not! Haha. Enjoy the video, share, like, and see you soon at the next pop-up :)